by Rak Mehta
I want you to imagine a little boy around 8 or so who has been undergoing a form of development. Every year the boy achieves something which was mentally incoherent the following year. From structuring to sentences to writing algebraic equations, the child is undergoing a rapid growth spur. However he is still enrolled in Special Ed courses. Many years past and the child still show severe signs of improvement although his syndrome is still evident his abilities are improving. The child begins to provide complex analysis of novels such as a Clock Work Orange interdisplinary. The potential of this particular child is absolute and he wants to achieve even more complex obstacles. Eliminating him from the Special education system and enrolling into a regular conditioned environment. However when the child approaches his instructor and informs him of his desires The instructor states the following It would be too difficult for you Billy. The child is then put into a solitary confinement. A special Ed classroom for the duration of his junior and high school career. Although it is obvious he does not have a learning disorder; the instructors failure to acknowledge Billys Abilities keep him buried deep down in the solitary confine which I like to call our education system. As Billy progresses into High School he is still put into a basic level course. Eventually he loses interest in school and begins to ponder over the option of dropping out. During Class Little Billy is observed by the special Ed students for sleeping during discussion about an arithmetic problem. The instructor observes this; forcing him to wake up The instructor calls Little Billy to the board to provide an explanation for the arithmetic problem. Slowly and swiftly little boy rises to his feet looking pale and dry as the Tuscan sun. As Little Billy finishes solving the problem the instructor nods slowly admitting the childs accuracy later when the child request to be transferred to a advance course the instructor refuses, Informing the child and the parents he will not succeed in a academic environment. Later Little Billy drops out of school; pursuing more challenging endeavors as a Garbage Collector. What caused little Billy dropping out? Ladies and Gentlemen meet the parents, the procrastinators of America--- those who facilitate our education.
In our daily lives we are often provoked to play a certain role we abide by the social norms associated with these roles and act accordingly. It is when we get too caught up in our roles and cannot form the distinction between reality and fantasy. I believe in our modern society many educators in our society are too into their role that often times they fail to understand the basic human emotions. Often times underestimating the students potential to succeed. It is here I reveal the basis of this essay it is not to ridicule the facilitators but rather provide a form of encouragement. Every Teacher wants the student to be successful however often times students are discouraged by the instructor to try to eliminate obstacles which shadow their daily lives. Many teachers have the passion for teaching student that they often try to teach the wrong ideas to students. Inviting them to take the easy way out by discouraging potential challenges the child wishes the overcome. Believe it or not, this is a very common trend in our school systems; the scene I presented to the reader may have included a hypothetical name but, it did not include a hypothetical example. Throughout my life I have faced the severe torment of our education system; Although many things were very hard for me to accomplished I eventually overcame the struggles life presented me with. However, because of my disability often times I was discouraged by my instructors negligence not to allow me to advance into the next course. I was often times placed into low level classes with the assumption that if one placed me in an advanced course my lackluster performance would be only evident. Eventually I proved the critics wrong by accomplishing which before was only an enigma. I am currently enrolled in one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. So all the meetings all the I cannot do this talk it was all.. Useless. Regardless it is not how the teacher reaction to my educational experience which worries me. It is the future of our educational system The pride and joy of learning in our primary institutions is no longer there. Instead I find the current education we receive is much like a competitive sport between fellow instructors. I believe every instructor wants to produce the best student then often times their ego gets in the way of helping those who are need.
Although, my anger for our current education system goes without notice one has to take into account the Teachers side of the spectrum. Many teachers instinctively may believe they are trying to do the best for the child. For instance, many teachers believe placing a student who has demonstrated potential into a lower level class will make their life much more satisfactory placing more psychological consequence as it relates to the development of the child. Many instructors in the current education system often find discouraging students potential will enable a student to be more successful by discouraging his potential because of a factor of instinctive motivation a child has. Every child instinctively has the mind set to rise above the challenges and difficulties which are faced in modern day society. For instance if a student is told he cannot do a certain task, the child may rise above and try to eliminate the instructors preconceived idea about a certain situation by working hard in a strive to achieve success. This is very common in our society when a child is told something contradictory to his beliefs; he is motivated to achieve the goals even placing a child in a lower level curriculum could help develop self esteem in a child who otherwise would not be motivated to succeed. Also many teachers believe in their hearts the child will be able to get indivualized attention. For example, in a lower level English course the child will be in a smaller class which will enable the instructor to provide input to the child. For example, a child who is placed in a lower level English course may benefit from the input which will allow him to be much more successful. Usually the teacher has good intentions to place a child in a certain course or to recommend a certain change most of the time the teachers take into consideration what would be best for the student.
Although, Instructors would like nothing to watch the child be successful. Many times they do not take account the potential of the student. According to John Gatto, children in our society have the potential to succeed if given the chance. Gatto believes in the lack of interdisciplinary activity from many of our education institutions which causes a delay in the growth process. According to Gatto, in our modern society children are too dependant on peers and parents that they fail to be independent. When the instructor gives personalized attention to the student they are hindering what would be the childs performance if he were on his own. According to Gatto our education system is like a computer processor which stores away the data not allowing the child to discover interdependently which in turn eliminates the childs sense of reality. In an effort to prove his theory Gatto constructed a mini experiment, He sent a young girl on a mission to have lunch with the sheriff of a different town. The young lady had not seen reality but, was believed to be very good in education. Eventually while coming back home, the 10 year old girl became stranded. Based on the event, Gatto even furthered his explanation on how feeble society is when they are dependant on others. If a student desires to be in a course based on his potential it is believed he should be allowed to be independent. To support the claim of interdisciplinary, Carl Rogers a humanistic society who is very much involved with human rights believes we need to trust Students motivation and potentials. According to Carl Rogers the main problem in our school systems is not how the student is reacting to the desires but the lack of realness portrayed by the professors. To contradict the belief made earlier several instructors want the student to be dependant on them (exp in basic courses) because they are afraid of the dependant character. Rogers believes in our current generation Instructors are too caught in the role of a teacher they often fail to recognize the student has emotions too. Rogers believes instructors should step outside the role as an instructor letting the child have a voice in his/her education. It did not seem like you were a teacher to me but rather a sharer. You were sensitive to our thoughts and portrayed yourself as authentic (One source wrote). Another student wrote You conducted the class on a personal basis; addressing our concerns. When an instructor takes into account the students views with passion and desire the instructor also demonstrates how much he cares about the student. Based on the Dalai Lamas philosophical beliefs it is believed that those when an instructor fosters intellectual development in a child. The instructor gains a sense of happiness or just a tingle feeling of success. The Dalai Lama is a religious leader and an Indian philosopher who believes in peace and love. In the novel A holiness of a good life Dalai Lama writes about how you should take the time to truly help someone who is in need. What better way to help someone then to help them discover their independence? When we accomplish the goal of helping or taking care of others it was believed we would benefit from true happiness. Placing a student in a basic course may seem like it helps the child. Dali Lama believed that we need to look deep within our hearts to see if we truly believe in the behavior we engage in. Next time we discourage a child to pursue from choosing a certain direction in their academic career Dalai Lama believed we should look deep within us to see if it is really within our spirits to deny a person of an education. Dalai Lama writes The basic essence of a human is genuine, Compassion and hostility (Dalai Lama, Pg 105). Although several writers encouraged us to look deep within ourselves.
As the reader skims through this essay, two different viewpoints have been presented, I will let you determine which is the better option A or B, however before I conclude this long winded journey and the quest to better humanity, let me first state that I have nothing, but the upmost respect for our education system and the paraprofessionals who encompass it without the support of these individuals I would not have become as independent as I am today. There are several students who require extensive support and our education system does a good job in accomodating these individuals, but how about the children who require accomodations, but are slowly developing, do we continue to provide extensive care to these individuals or do we slowly push them forward. As the reader is skimming through the previous sentence the answer is rather apparent. If the child is slowly developing, we push them forward, easy response to a rather stupid question, but the question is how do we know if how he is developing?. Not only do we need feedback from the instructors and parents, but the child himself. This is where the special education's lackluster performance is astounding and sometimes bewildering. The current technique of the special education system is to challenge students only based on "how they percieve the student should be challenged". At a typical meeting with special services, the parents and students will meet with the head of the department and several paraprofessionals to discuss the child's accomodations for the next term usually what happens in High School is the director already has accomodations written down and he/she just confirms them with the parents. If the parent wishes to dispute these accomodations he/she is asked to schedule another meeting and is told "this mtg is just to confirm these accomodations". In other words it is not a meeting it is what I like to call a "rigged meeting" where the "tyrants" prevail and the "citizens" have to wait to see another day. On the other side of the spectrum, in College the system is much different, at the meeting the child meets with a Disability coordinator and he/she goes over the child's accomodations then puts it in a letter for the child to give to his/her instructor. The Office of Disability services do not interfere with the child's education in any way aside from providing him/her with the necessary accomodations. If the student does not give the letter to his/her instructor than tough luck!. Better yet the student can decide if he needs these accomodations and can inform his instructor accordingly. Typical college accomodations inculde: extended time on exams, use of laptop, use of tape recorder, option of having a notetaker(which the student can decline) etc. In my opnion this is a better approach to our education system than the "High School approach". The overarching aim is to shift the values of the student from interdependence to independence, however by deciding the student's fate for him when he/she is nevertheless capable of making his own desicions, there may never be a value shift because chances are the student will never have the chance to perform in college. These dreams will no longer be realistic, but shattered!